The Swon Brothers' self-titled debut album won’t be out until October 14, but you don’t have to wait that long to hear some of it. From now through the Labor Day weekend, fans can stream four songs at People.com: “95,” “Pretty Beautiful,” “Pray for You” and “This Side of Heaven.”
The album also features Zach and Colton’s first top twenty hit, “Later On.” The Oklahoma natives debuted the song as part of Team Blake on season 4 of The Voice. They co-produced the record with Mark Bright, who’s known for his work with Carrie Underwood and Sara Evans.
Photo Credit: Art StreiberGeorge Strait is America’s favorite country musician, according to an unscientific Harris Poll conducted in July. King George comes in at number five on the overall list, with only Led Zepplin, Beyonce, Elvis and the Beatles outranking him in popularity. Garth Brooks is the only other country artist in the top ten, tying the Eagles and Neil Diamond for the number seven spot.
Several country artists dropped off the yearly poll, including Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Alan Jackson. When the Harris Poll broke down their data by demographics, seniors routinely named Willie Nelson as their favorite musician.
The results come from an online poll of 2306 Americans.
Image Courtesy Curb RecordsLee Brice's latest chart-topper, "I Don't Dance," had some pretty big shoes to fill, coming after ACM Song of the Year winner "I Drive Your Truck." And although of course Lee is proud of his latest hit, which is self-penned, "I Drive Your Truck," which he didn't write, remains a life-changing song for him.
"I mean, it's obviously, a defining thing in my career, and it will always be," he reflects. "And obviously, I hear stories all the time from other folks and how it impacts their life. And I've heard so many of those, and they've meant so much to me."
Lee says it was actually an adolescent fan who really brought the meaning of the song home for him.
"I met this little girl, and she was 12 or 13, and she was, like, terminally ill. And it just hit me really, really on a very real level," he remembers. "I guess, maybe it's because I got kids. If you close your eyes -- I just started to try to do this -- put yourself in her shoes or put yourself in her parents' shoes, and how does it make you really feel? And, like, imagine that."
The little girl's situation touched Lee so much, it made it hard for him to sing his hit.
"I think about her, and I’m like, 'Oh God, how do you do that?' It made a positive impact on my life to make me appreciate every day that I got, every minute I got with my family, 'cause that's why I'm enjoying it so much," he says. "That's why I'm happier than I've ever been."
Lee's new album, I Don't Dance , arrives September 9.
M2M PRIf you've ever wanted to raid NaomiJudd's closets, now is your chance. The Beverly Hills auction firm Julien's will help the "mother" half of the legendary Judds part with some of her treasures in November.
The collection includes many of Naomi's custom stage clothes, including the ensemble she wore in the video for the Judds' 1985 hit, "Love is Alive," with the centerpiece being the vintage 1920's radio she and Wynonna and Ashley used to listen to before they were famous. The auction also includes a signature red, white and blue guitar given to her by Buck Owens, as well as some Elvis items from her husband, Larry Strickland, who used to work with the King.
The items will be on display at Julien's Auctions Beverly Hills from November 3-7, before bidding starts both online and in person on November 7&8. Naomi will donate part of the proceeds to Tuckers House, a charity that helps families with children with disabilities.
Allister AnnWhen Kenny Chesney's new album comes out next month, it'll be the end of a chapter the superstar devoted solely to recording new music. He admits not touring this summer did make him feel a little isolated.
"I've felt like I've been a cocoon in the studio since last October," he confesses. "I mean, I've traveled some, and I've gotten away from music for a little while, but my focus and my vision has been on making music that I think that we can go out there on the road next year and really put the pedal down to."
With the album now finished, Kenny says it won't be long until he turns his attention to next summer's tour.
"I've been so busy in the studio really working hard on this music, that I haven't had a lot of time. I can't believe it's this far into 2014, and it's not gonna be that long until we start rehearsals, until we start dialing in what we're gonna do and how we're gonna present ourselves next summer. But we had to get the music right first, " he says.
When The Big Revival comes out September 23, Kenny promises it's just the beginning of "another ride" he's looking forward to taking his fans on.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockWaylon Jennings' widow Jessi Colter will host an auction of more than two thousand pieces of memorabilia from the legendary country outlaw, ranging from a motorcycle that originally belonged to Buddy Holly to a pair of boots made by iconic designer Nudie for Hank Williams, Sr. The auction will be held October 5 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
Dustin Lynch fans who pre-order his new CD on iTunes will be able to download three of the songs instantly: his hit "Where It's At," plus "Mind Reader" and "Your Daddy's Boots." The album, also titled Where It's At, comes out September 9.
RCA NashvilleEven though Chris Young didn't write his latest single, "Lonely Eyes," he says the barroom scene he describes in the tune could've been inspired by one of his favorite hangouts in midtown Nashville, not far from Music Row.
“Yeah, I’ve spent my fair share of time at Losers [Bar & Grill],” he laughs. “I’ve seen moments like what I sing about in ‘Lonely Eyes’ go down all the time. I’ve always said the best song wins, and the soaring melody and smart lyrics of this song grabbed me from the first time I heard it.”
Written by Johnny Bulford, Jason Matthews and Laura Veltz, "Lonely Eyes" is the third single from Chris's fourth album, A.M. His last release, "Who I Am with You," went all the way to number one.
We already knew Darius Rucker will unveil his new song, “Homegrown Honey,” next Wednesday on Good Morning America. Now there's more news: after his performance, Little Big Town will join Darius to reveal the nominees in the five major CMA Awards categories, live on GMA during the 8:30 half-hour.
After the live announcement, Darius and LBT will travel to the Best Buy Theater in Times Square to announce the rest of the contenders. While it won’t be televised, you can stream it live at CMAawards.com starting at 10 a.m. ET.
Darius co-wrote "Homegrown Honey," the first single from his upcoming fourth solo album, with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and their producer, Nathan Chapman. Look for that CD early next year.
The 48th Annual CMA Awards airs Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Newcomer Sam Hunt considers his first hit, "Leave the Night On" not only the centerpiece of his debut CD, but also a pretty good reflection of who he is musically.
"That was one of the first ones where I felt like, 'OK, this could be a direction I could go as an artist'," he says. "That song just hung around and stayed there, and in the end, when we finished the album, it was a song that we felt like would be a good first single, and it kind of represented all of what I wanted to do and kind of represents the record best in one song. And it's fun. It's a good uptempo introduction, I think."
Producer Zach Crowell recorded the CD in the bedroom of his house in East Nashville, which afforded Sam the luxury of time.
"It allowed us to really dig in, and we'd just go over things over and over," Sam says. "We weren't confined to a three-hour slot in a studio. We've spent a lot of hours just tweaking and working and coming up with sounds and bringing our buddies in who play guitar and having them play on the record."
Sam brought in members of his band, as well as some folks who'd never played on record before to help with his first CD. But he confesses there were some contributions he didn't welcome.
"He's got this little yappy dog that's running around the house all the time. We have to stop recording all the time 'cause there's barks coming in the background," he laughs.
Sam's EP X2C is available now, with his full-length CD Montevallo coming out October 27.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe one-hour special Backstory: Dolly Parton promises "an insider's look at the life and times of the most awarded female in county music." It premieres August 29 at 5 p.m. ET on Great American Country.
Tyler Farr, Jamey Johnson and John Michael Montgomery are just three of the stars who'll play in Colt Ford's third annual Celebrity Golf Classic September 15 in Atlanta.
Dierks Bentley joins Blake Shelton as one of the headliners at next year's Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa. This will be the second year for the four-day concert series that starts the Thursday before Memorial Day.
CMAEven though MirandaLambert's latest CD Platinum has already sold half a million copies and spawned the hit singles "Automatic" and "Somethin' Bad," husband Blake Shelton says she's much more focused on emotion and authenticity than on commercial success.
"That's what I love about my wife is that she wears her heart on her sleeve," he reflects. "She writes songs and records songs that mean something to her. The last thing that she thinks about when she makes a record is what could get played on the radio. I can honestly say it never, ever, ever, ever crosses her mind."
Ultimately, Blake believes it's Miranda's honest approach that's translated into such wide appeal.
"I think that's why especially this community, we look forward to her albums so much because it's always just a reinvention of herself and it's always a breath of fresh air from what guys like me are doing, you know," he jokes.
We'll find out exactly what Blake himself is up to, when his latest CD Bringing Back the Sunshine comes out September 30.
Image Courtesy Mark Peterson/Food Network MagazineKelly Clarkson contributes vocals to Trisha Yearwood's new single, "PrizeFighter," which also happens to be the title track of Trisha's twelfth album, her first for RCA Nashville. She says the inspirational song gives her the feeling she can do anything, even when the odds are against her, adding that it "just plain rocks!"
This isn't the first time Kelly and Trisha have sung together. Last year, Trisha joined Kelly onstage at CMA Music Festival to perform her husband's hit "Ain't Goin' Down Til the Sun Comes Up," before contributing vocals to a new version of "Away in a Manger" for Kelly's Christmas album.
Trisha kicks off the Garth Brooks world tour September 4 in Chicago, with her new single set to hit airwaves September 15. It's her first new music in 7 years.
Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line will spend Halloween this year headlining a massive tailgate party at the Jacksonville Shipyards, just ahead of the Georgia-Florida football game the next day. Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three, John King and more join Bryan Kelley and Tyler Hubbard for the Anything Goes Tailgate 2014, named for the duo’s sophomore CD.
Tickets go on sale this Saturday at JaxTailgate.com, with bundles including a souvenir t-shirt and a copy of the duo’s new CD, out October 14.
Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan joins Miranda Lambert and The Band Perry to carry the country banner during CBS’s Fashion Rocks special next month. Ryan Seacrest hosts the two-hour event that celebrates the connection between fashion and music.
Luke, Miranda and The Band Perry will perform live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, alongside KISS, Duran Duran, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Pitbull and more. You can catch the show Tuesday, September 9 at 9 ET on CBS.
Capitol Records NashvilleLittle Big Town will launch their Pain Killer tour November 8 in Youngstown, OH. Featuring special guests Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne, the tour will hit 13 cities nationwide, and wrap in Rockford, IL on December 13.
In a statement, Karen Fairchild said, "We are so excited to share Pain Killer and get on the road for this tour. Kimberly,Phillip, Jimi and I are thrilled to have such amazing openers in Brett and Brothers…we're big fans."
She added, "The band is so stoked about this record that we've been playing new songs all summer. We can't wait to play the whole thing, along with our hits the fans know and love this November."
The band is offering fans the chance to purchase VIP experience packages on the tour, which include meet and greets, admission to pre-show sound checks, exclusive merchandise and more. Visit LittleBigTown.com for full details on those.
Little Big Town has also unveiled the artwork for their new album, Pain Killer, which will hit retailers October 21. It shows all four members of the group standing against a red background beneath crimson lights spelling out the album's title.
Here are the Pain Killer tour dates:
11/8 -- Youngstown, OH, Covelli Centre 11/9 -- Cincinnati, OH, Bank of Kentucky Center 11/13 -- Roanoke, VA, Salem Civic Center 11/14 -- Knoxville, TN, Knoxville Civic Coliseum 11/15 -- Atlanta, GA, Fox Theatre 11/20 -- Denver, CO, 1st Bank Center 11/21 -- Wichita, KS, Hartman Arena 11/22-- Dallas, TX, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie 12/4 -- Detroit, MI, Masonic Temple Detroit 12/5 -- Chicago, IL, Rosemont Theatre 12/6 -- Mt. Pleasant, MI, Soaring Eagle 12/12 -- Rochester, MN, Mayo Civic Center Arena 12/13 -- Rockford, IL, BMO Harris Bank Center
Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/CapitolDierks Bentley stays in near-constant conversation with his fans thanks to his accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just the other night, Dierks posted a selfie as he prepared to take off on his third self-piloted flight of the day. He also uses social media to involve his fans at shows on his Riser tour. So far this year, Dierks has tweeted with fans to get them up onstage to sing karaoke with him during his set.
He says, "We've experimented with all different things that won't be showstoppers."
Dierks has been very excited to offer seat upgrades to fans in the audience via social media before he takes the stage, too.
"[It's] so cool that it's that easy to do, but it would have such a big impact on a fan's life," Dierks explains. "It would have a big impact on my life being able to move up to the front, some of the shows I used to go to as a kid."
Dierks' Riser tour is on the road through November.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2001.
Luke Bryan fans have a chance to win a 2014 Chevy truck he customized in conjunction with Texaco by entering the contest at LukeTailgateTruck.com. The contest is only open to residents of Alabama, Georgia and Texas.